MEXICO CITY - Former Paraguay striker
Salvador Cabanas, who missed out on the 2010 World Cup after
being shot in the head, made a cameo comeback in a match in his
honour between his country and former Mexican club America.
The player nicknamed "Marshall" played for eight minutes for
America in the first half and 10 minutes for Paraguay in the
second of a friendly at the Azteca, his former home ground, that
ended 0-0 on Wednesday night.
"For us the most important thing was that he should feel
happy and comfortable," Paraguay's new coach Francisco Arce
"He's a well loved lad, he's blessed after all he's been
through. Whether he comes back into the professional game or not
is secondary," Arce told reporters.
Cabanas was shot in the head in a Mexico City nightclub in
January 2010, months after helping Paraguay qualify for the
World Cup in South Africa, where his country went further than
ever before, reaching the quarter-finals.
The bullet remains lodged in his head because doctors feared
trying to remove it might cost Cabanas his life. Following
hospital treatment in Mexico and rehabilitation in an Argentine
clinic he returned home to Asuncion where he trains as an
amateur with first division club Libertad.
"[Cabanas] deserves [the honour], it was worth it for him
and the America fans who adore him," said the Mexican club's
Chilean coach Carlos Reinoso.
Cabanas was shot during an argument in the nightclub
restroom by "JJ" Balderas, who was arrested last January after
drugs baron Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez, captured in August 2010,
admitted to helping JJ hide after the shooting incident.
The striker had last played at the Azteca on January 17, 2010
when he scored twice in America's 5-1 win over San Luis in the
Mexican championship. His last match was a 2-0 defeat away to
Morelia two days before the January 25 shooting.
Former Paraguay defender Arce took charge of the team when
Argentine coach Gerardo Martino resigned after the Copa America
in Argentina where they lost the final 3-0 to Uruguay.
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